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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
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Household Items That Help With Homework

Having the right tools in one place can make homework less of a struggle. At a PTO meeting last night two colleagues and I addressed parent’s concerns about homework.

Mrs. Monteiro, a third grade teacher, told parents about making a "Homework Box." Her model was a large shoe box, decorated by a child and filled with basic tools needed to complete homework. Some of the tools were pencils, a sharpener, a glue stick, scissors, ruler, tape, small calculator and for older children a pocket dictionary. A small tote bag could also be used. The purpose is to keep needed supplies handy, for completion of homework. These supplies are used for Homework only, and kept in the same place for easy access.

I spoke about using household items to make homework easier for younger children.

• Highlighters can be used for isolating important words in directions. For math addition and subtraction problems highlight the sign (-.+) so your child does the proper function.
• Craft (Popsicle) Sticks can be used to demonstrate counting and solving math problems. They can also be used to build tally marks.
• A jar of mixed coins is helpful when doing "money" homework. Using actual coins can make an abstract mathematical concept real to a child
• When children have trouble sitting still try a different setting. Let a child work on the floor or bed with a clip board.

Mrs. Henneous, a third grade teacher as well, talked about the importance of reading to and with your child. She recommended using a small note book or journal to keep a "reading log" of books your child has read. She suggested while reading with your child to stop and ask questions about what is happening in the story. Use "sticky notes" to write down the answers, and keep the notes. When your child has a book report due the sticky notes can be put in order to help them organize and complete the report.

Homework reinforces what your child is learning at school, and ordinary household items can help speed the process!

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